Yogic Handshakes

Dedication to sadhana can look very different from yogi/ni to yogi/ni.  As discussed in a previous post, yoga is an umbrella over a variety of activities, each of which has merit and purpose.  As each person is entirely unique, so too will his/her development be at the beginning of a journey into yoga, and the activities that he/she needs in order to progress will differ.  My commitment to a steady practice has lately led me to study. I have gone back to basic sources, spending more time with Patanjali, and I’ve found that my understanding of the content has changed since my first reading.  When I open the pages of the sutras now, I have a developing appreciation of the scope and potential of ongoing practice.  Patanjali’s statement, ” now the practice of yoga begins” is profound in its seeming simplicity.

I’ve also begun to research aspects of yoga that are new to me, including mudras, which can be thought of as asanas of the hands.  These complement other elements of practice, from asanas to meditation and study, and can comprise practice itself. Gertrud Hirschi’s Mudras: Yoga in your Hands is a pleasant and interesting introduction to the mudras, and it gives the reader an excellent idea of how far-reaching the science of yoga is.

There’s some similarity between TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) theories of pressure-points and the basis of the mudras.  Hirschi refers to this, and delves into the effects of each mudra on various systems of the body and on psychological states.  The association of each finger and section of the palm with organs and the skeleton is discussed, and it’s not difficult to imagine how rich a practice could be, experimenting with mudras and complementary asanas.  While the mudras represent a single element of practice, they provide an excellent example of the tremendous thoughtfulness and diversity of yoga as a whole.  I hope that you will be encouraged to investigate the many avenues available and grow in your own sadhana.

mudra one

mudra one (Photo credit: kandyjaxx)

With anjali mudra firmly fixed,



This entry was posted in Yoga and tagged .

4 comments on “Yogic Handshakes

  1. anantha says:

    and for the dance aspirant, the Bharatanatyam dance encompasses asanas (to an extent) and mudras.. 🙂

  2. Bharatanatyam is a very long-standing interest of mine. There are apparently good schools here in Canada…it would be really interesting to experience classes, especially after developing some familiarity with yoga.

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